Community leader, influencer, OAM recipient, father, grandfather and great grandfather are just some of the words people use to describe Barry Johnson OAM.
The proud local has had many roles within the region, including Chairman of Gin Gin Fruit and Vegetable Growers for four years and then Director until the organisation ceased operation.
It's his passion for his community, as well as farmers in the region and beyond, that had him nominated for Bundaberg Regional Council's Our People Our Stories initiative which celebrates local people.
Through his work with farmers and his own history growing up on a dairy farm, Barry has always had a passion for showcasing quality produce and product, which also steered his love for the Gin Gin Show.
“We became known as one of the better country shows in Queensland because of our fruit and vegetable display,” he said.
“The local growers supported the local show enthusiastically.”
Support for rural workers a top priority for Barry
Barry also did plenty of work behind the scenes, campaigning State Government to provide rural workers with accreditation for their skills.
It was a move eventually introduced by the Beattie Government which overall increased employment opportunities in the horticulture and agriculture industries.
Barry also used his knowledge and expertise to help improve practices in farming and agriculture.
With a group of growers, in conjunction with the Queensland Department of Primary Industries, he helped trial a new technology using controlled atmosphere which would assist in getting fresh fruit overseas.
This technology is now being used across the world.
For Barry’s outstanding accomplishments in primary industry, he was nominated and received an Order of Australia Medal in 2003 and was honoured with Kolan Shire Citizen of the year the same year.
“Ordinary Australian Male,” he joked.
Barry has not only been a positive figure in the agricultural industry, he has also played an instrumental role in providing support to the whole community through various initiatives.
In his role as President of the Gin Gin Historical Society Barry leveraged the Gin Gin Markets as a fundraising tool through the Saturday morning markets.
He was also on the steering committee to help get the Gin Gin Community Bank established.
Another feather in his cap is holding the title of founding member of the Gin Gin Men’s Shed
You can still find Barry at the shed every Friday morning or in his own sawmill that provides timber to woodworkers in the community.
Nowadays, Barry is known as Mr Fix It Man.
“People around me comment on my patience and they don’t know where I have gained those skills from, it’s in my DNA,” he said.
Barry was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease which affects his movement, but he doesn’t let that get in the way of a good time and continues on without a fuss.
“Life’s too short to be bothered with that,” he said.